Final Thoughts on Terrence Jones


The more I read about the Terrence Jones saga, the less I like it.

I used to feel a bit sorry for the kid.  It seems that he really struggled with his decision, may not have even made his final decision until he actually put on the University of Washington hat at his announcement.  I remember having a problem making the same decision many years ago, and mine didn’t even involve athletics.  I had three choices, two of which really stood out, in different ways.  I lost sleep, stayed home from school on the final decision day, and accepted both schools.  One was obviously UConn, where I ended up.  True story.

I thought that’s where Terrence Jones was coming from.

Now I’m wondering if he just loves the attention, and how much of this was scripted.

Terrence Jones is a highly rated recruit, somewhere between #6 and #14 in the Class of 2010, depending on which recruiting site you believe in.  He would certainly have garnered a great deal of attention — but not nearly as much as he has received in the last three weeks.

At one point I thought he was regretting his verbal to Washington, and was delaying the inevitable by waiting until the last possible minute to commit to Kentucky.  Now I believe that everything since the press conference has been nothing but a publicity stunt — that is, despite the comments that he has been receiving ‘hurtful’ emails, and that he has had a difficult time making the decision, his actions speak for themselves.  He milked the speculation and the publicity for three full weeks, even stating that he was still committed to Washington but not ready to sign, then evidently ‘changed his mind.’

It’s not as if he verbally committed to U of W as a 10th grader, then saw the situation change.  He committed verbally three weeks ago, during the regular (later) signing period, and with a press conference, then reneged.

The coaches haven’t changed, the rosters haven’t changed and the programs haven’t changed.

Personally, I do not understand the purpose of the verbal commitment.  It used to be, when I player made a verbal commitment, most of the other programs backed off.  I’m not sure they had to, but it seemed like verbal ‘commitments’ were honored.  Now they seem to be meaningless.  If nothing else, the NCAA should not allow players to give verbal commitments during the regular signing period — what’s the point?

You can name a lot things that are wrong with the recruiting process, including the fact that when a player commits, he commits to a program.  If the coach leaves in the interim, the player is screwed.

Certainly some of the rules do not work in the recruits’ favor.

However, there is now (and evidently has been for a while) a loophole around that, one that Terrence Jones has also taken advantage of: he signed a financial aid agreement, not a Letter of Intent.  He can still change his mind, particularly if John Calipari leaves.

Now it seems as if the players are running the show.  From the announcements during the Jordan Brand Classic to the plethora of press conferences to facebook and twitter, the process has been changing, and not (in my opinion) for the better.  It’s become more style than substance.

Tony Wroten, one of the top recruits in the Class of 2011, has already gone on record saying that his own announcement will be the “great announcement of all time.”  He didn’t know how he would do it, didn’t know what school he would play for, but he’s already planning his announcement.  (At one point, UConn was at the top of his list — I read that his comment and realized that there is no way he will go to Connecticut — he is destined for Kentucky.   So I was not surprised to read this week that Kentucky is now at the top of his list.)

Certainly Wroten has a long way to go to top the manufactured hype that Terrence Jones has generated.

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